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tv   Senate Judiciary Committee Holds Confirmation Hearing for Federal Judgeships  CSPAN  November 13, 2018 10:06am-12:20pm EST

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>> i'll let you talk and then i'll give my opening statements. >> thank you, mr. chair. >> chairman grassley, ranking member leahy and senate colleagues, thanks for being here on a cold, wet monday morning to allow me to voice my support for louisiana native
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james contain who has been nominated to be united states district judge for the western district of louisiana. he has the callifications and qualifications required and joined by his wife angie who he'll be celebrating 25 years of marriage. has two daughters, mr. cain attended mcneese state university on a full basketball scholarship and i think is the most interesting thing about mr. cain, he was roommates with future nba star joe dumars. after getting his degree in economics and finance from mcneese he went on to attend lieu cool in baton rouge where he graduated cum laude. mr. cain has had an outstanding legal career. he clerked for the honorable judge henry in the louisiana third circuit court of appeals and received valuable experience in the d.a.'s office of the beauregard parish and
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admitted to the fifth circuit court of appeals as well as the eastern, middle and western federal district courts of louisiana. mr. cain started in the private sector becoming a partner up to four years at the firm. in 2006 he became a founding member and partner at the lake charles firm where he still practices. he has extensive courtroom experience in a wide range of areas including product liability, business and commercial litigation, workers' comp and health care to name a few. his exemplary work as an attorney has earned him a peer review ranking of 80 by martin dale hubbell and the american bar association has given him the rating of well qualified based on his integrity, professional competence and judicial temperament and is a member of the american bar association, the louisiana bar association and the southwest louisiana bar association. he also has served on the board of st. louis catholic high
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school, our lady queen of heaven trust board, the board of crime stoppers and the mcneese alumni association board where he's the immediate past president. mr. cain shares his passion for the legal profession by his involvement with the american ends of court where he mentors young attorneys in practice. james cain is an excellent choice to fill this vacancy in the western district of louisiana and i recommend him to this committee without reservation and urge swift confirmation. hank you, mr. chair. senator grassley: i welcome everybody to this hearing, particularly the nominees and their families that are so proud of their being here. i'd like to briefly mention why we're holding a hearing on paul maddie despite the lack of two positive blue slips from home state senators. my policy is that unreturned or negative blue slips will not
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necessarily preclude a hearing for circuit court nominee unless the white house failed to consult with home state senators. this is consistent with the blue slip policies of nearly all 18 prior judiciary committee chairmen who extended blue slip courtesies, including chairman ted kennedy and joe biden. only two chairmen have had strict policies requiring the return of two positive blue slips before holding a hearing, chairman patrick leahy who allowed members to use blue slips in the case of president george w. bush's judges and chairman james eastland. >> and obama's judges, too. senator grassley: and obama's judges, too. and i agree with you that should have been in my statement. and chairman james eastland who allowed southern senators to use blue slips to block ominees when democrats
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objections today are really out is the fact that the filibuster has been not used since 2013 at 61 votes. back then democrats believed 41 senators should not be able to block a nominee with majority support. now they claim the right for two senators to have that authority and so that's why the blue slip should not be abused for political or ideological reasons. it's clear the white house adequately consulted with new jersey senators regarding mr. maddie's nomination, the white house first reached out to new jersey senators april 2017. the white house made several extremely generous offers in an attempt to reach an agreement with the senators regarding all federal court vacancies in new
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jersey that would include positions. district there are now six such vacancies. in the year long consultation period the new jersey senators did not agree to even meet with mr. maddie nor did they recommend anyone else for the vacancy. and the only reason the new york-new jersey senators gave for the reluctance to agree to mr. maddie's nomination is he was too conservative. in my opinion the white house attempted to meaningfully consult but their efforts were not reciprocated. the new jersey senators declined to return their blue slip for political or ideological reasons and i don't consider that a valid reason ot to have this hearing. i'd like the ranking member to speak. >> i would yield to senator booker because he has a nominee from the state here just as we did for senator cassidy.
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>> if that's what you want to do. i'd call on senator booker after you got done but go ahead, mr. booker. senator booker: i appreciate that and appreciate the opportunity to offer opening statements on the nomination of maddie to fill the third circuit. i heard you characterize the blue slips in the past and it's unfortunate because you mischaracterized my reasoning on not returning a blue slip and you characterized the negotiations with the white house perhaps only listening to the white house because i was never approached by you to ask was there a meaningful negotiation and what was the nature of the coordination query and what could be better. it's unfortunate your statement falls short of even a collegial asking you what really happened. what you characterize as meaningful negotiations, sir, was absolutely not. i talked to other senators from sherrod brown who successfully
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negotiated with the white house, heard the nature of those negotiations, that did not happen on our point. what they're characterizing to you is not true and i wish i could have had a conversation and gone point by point about what they did and what they said to me and compared that to other democratic senators who have returned blue slips and how much more substantive those negotiations were. so what you said there, sir, is just one-sided and not true and i wish you would have come to me before this judge was scheduled. and the blue slip process was unfortunate because it's not a reflection of what's happened in the past. this is the first time we've seen such a departure under one president of so many journals coming forth who have not gotten blue slips. the practice is in place for a century and the data just doesn't support the actions taking place. from 1979 until the start of the trump administration, just three judicial nominees over
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100 years, three judicial nominees were confirmed when only one home state senator returned a positive blue slip. three times in a century. and now it's happening over and over and over again. but paul maddie is different. during that time the senate has never, ever, ever confirmed a judicial nominee when both home state senators objected, when both home state senators have objected there's never been a judicial nominee confirmed but now that practice has eroded. several of the president's nominees for the federal judiciary are pushed through over the objections of home state senators. the last time this committee had a nomination hearing from a ranking member we heard from two nominees from the fifth circuit, my friend sherrod brown had not returned his blue slip on either of them but the white house had not consulted
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him on either selection. today mr. maddie comes before the committee as president trump's nominee to the third circuit. at no point did the white house offer to set up a meeting between me and my office and mr. maddie to say that i didn't meet with somebody, that there's no meaningful effort to set up a meeting is mischaracterization of the fact. , the white house never ever mentioned anyone else for the vacancies. they didn't talk about other judges. there are dozens and dozen of people from the state of new jersey, conservative judges that they didn't offer in my way to negotiate meaningfully on other alternatives. and this isn't a judge i have no experience with. mr. maddie served a significant role in a hospital as an anchor cornerstone in my city of newark. a hospital that had lots of problems, scandals during that time and so to say my objections to this judge are
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just because they are conservative is just not fair and just not accurate. nobody has asked me what my objections might be. my response to white house in the limited conversations we've had or any of my colleagues have never been objecting to a judge just because they're conservative. there are substantive issues that i believe deserve more conversation. to not even have an appointment arranged with this judge is insulting. and so i just worry that this is another rush job. and perhaps one of the best indicators of that rush job has to do with the a.b.a. ratings. the american bar association we have always seen as playing some role but at this point they haven't even returned a rating on mr. maddie's nomination and holding a hearing having not even heard from the a.b.a. this is one more institutional guardrail that's being knocked
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down in an unprecedented way by this committee. for several nominees the majority now seems to have rushed through the committee so quickly the a.b.a. has barely had a chance to give them ratings in the first place when there's numerous people on this committee, republicans who in the past have talked about the importance of a.b.a. ratings, so this whole process is just disappointing to me and makes me sad, not consulted substantially by the house and not consulted before this judge was put up and not even said hey, let's set up a meeting but and the judge and not asked substantively what my concerns might be with a judge with a long record in the city i was a mayor of. all of these things are deeply disappointing to me and i think grievous insults to the processes that have been honored for years and years in this committee. i didn't come as a senator with
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no experience. i was a mayor of a major city, the largest in new jersey. this judge was someone who played important institutional roles in my city. there are a lot of things i would have liked to have discussed with this judge privately even but didn't get the courtesy of saying let's sit down with this gentleman and make an appointment. what you said in your statement, sir, is just not true and you and i could have had an off the record conversation where you could have at least heard my side of the story. thank you for the time. senator grassley: i think i'll call in senator leahy before i respond to senator booker. senator leahy: i've served on this committee for over 40 years and have devoted myself to the good it has accomplished during both republican and democratic administrations, during republican and democratic leadership in the senate.
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and i've done that because while it's history, the senate judiciary committee has addressed the most complex and contentious issues facing this country. oftentimes we had the eyes of the nation upon us as that's happened. and in many ways, this work in the congress has been no exception. what concerns me today is that during past debates, even the most partisan ones of norms and conditions to protect this committee's unique constitutional role to remain intact. if you hear what senator booker said and others, we realize that's no longer the case today. perhaps most important responsibility of this committee is to provide advice and informed consent to a president's nominees for lifetime appointment. but in recent years, my friends
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in the republican party have taken any steps necessary, including ignoring precedent after precedent in a partisan shaped race to reshape our judiciary. and during the last three years, despite our body's role as a co-equal branch of government, i fear the committee has become a mere extension of the trump white house. we know that we have an acting attorney general who considers the federal judiciary as a lesser branch of our government . i'd suggest he take a moment and may want to read the constitution. we've heard president trump say that he wants judges to rule the way he wants them to, not independently, not to be an independent federal judiciary but to rule as he wants them to. he stated that when there was a case about the fraud in the
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trump university. he said i'll never settle that because the courts aren't ruling as i want them to or words to that effect. of course he did have to settle for about $25 million. he scoreated another journal because his parents were mexican so therefore he's not qualified. all of this is to demean the federal judiciary and tell the federal judiciary they must act as he wants them to. that worries me. i've tried a lot of cases when i was in private practice and as a prosecutor, every time i walked in a courtroom, different judges, i never worried about whether the judge was republican or democrat. i knew they were going to treat me based on the law and impartially. it actually should be the same way for every single litigant
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no matter what their political party. the president wants to change that. in the same way he said the justice shall only prosecute democrats and not republicans. you know, during all of his eight years in the white house, president obama worked diligently with home state republicans to find mutually acceptable nominees where possible. as a result, he nominated many individuals that may not have been his first choice if no doubt they were qualified and capable. and look how he is repaid. during his last two years in office, president obama was allowed by the republican controlled senate to only have two circuit court judges confirmed and just 22 federal judges overhauled. and then the senate republicans did something that had never, ever been done before in the history of this country, they failed to even consider the
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president's qualified nominees to the supreme court, chief judge garland, though many republicans were on record in the past of saying this is a person who should be on the supreme court. i mention this because i want to compare what it was. i was chairman of this committee during the last two years of the bush administration. we could have done the same thing. we just had taken the majority. instead during the last two years of the bush administration, we confirmed 68 judges to our federal courts, 68 republican nominees during that two years. in the last two years of president obama, the republicans only allowed 22 judges. and the number of nominees had blue slips with both republicans and democratic senators but still couldn't be heard. and for the first time in the history of this nation, blocked a supreme court justice from
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even having a hearing on a vote. now, of 8 -- 68 judges in two years when the republicans are in charge -- or democrats are in charge with a republican president, 22. when republicans are in charge with a democratic president, this congress in less than two years, senate republicans have already confirmed 82 judges and counting, including a record 26 nominees to the circuit court, our nation's second highest court. now, i voted for some of those but they were rushed through. in fact, i voted for more republican nominated judges than almost any republican or democrat in this body. but i'm not invited to vote for those who are rushed through without any reliance on the attitude of the senators from their state.
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26 for president trump this congress in the circuit court, two for president obama in the last congress. and at such breakneck speed and to support president trump in saying he wants a federal judiciary or he wants a federal judiciary that will do what he wants. the white house and this committee have set aside nearly every guardrail of the judicial nominations process, including the very process used to identify well qualified nominees, the blue slip. all of us, whether a democrat or republican should care about good faith consultation when it comes to nominees from our home states. i'm not going to try to tell the white house who they should nominate from my state of new
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jersey but they have to talk to the iowa judges but should talk to the new jersey judges. and the reasons are both principled and pragmatic. we know our states and know them far better than anybody in the white house does. we know who is qualified to fill lifetime appointments to the bench. and i would note i've recommended from my state two well known republicans to go on the second circuit court of appeals. why? because they were by far the most qualified people being considered. and we know that the majority today may be the minority tomorrow, since the one constant in life is impermanence. i mention that because i've been here many times in the majority and many times in the minority. throughout all that time i've known the blue slips are the only mechanism to ensure our state's voices are heard in this process either through a
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state's nonpartisan selection committee or other bipartisanship traditions. in most cases, blue slips were the only mechanism to ensure the nominees even have ties to our states. without them, there's nothing to stop a democratic president from nominating a new york lawyer to a texas court or a republican to wisconsin. and certainly eelingts -- it's something we have to think about if we want to make clear, i'm sorry senators don't seem to want to make clear to a president who wants to demean the federal court system, that they're not an arm of the white house, they're an independent equal branch of government, notwithstanding what the people in donald trump's administration say.
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ow, the fact that the chairman properly changes blue slip policy with a change in the white house is not all that concerns me, this committee's disregard to the a.b.a. ratings, once a basic requirement for any lifetime nominee to our federal courts, something republican senators have always asked for. we've seen an unprecedented number of hearings where multiple circuit court nominees are packed on to one panel over the objections of the minority. and last time for the first time nomination hearings were held during recess over the objections of the minority, something i never did when i was chairman because we checked with the republicans and if they didn't want to have a hearing during a recess, we wouldn't have it. with each of the committee's
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norms it's our constitutional obligation to provide advice and consent have taken a back seat and today's hearing is just an example of senators who have ignored senate prerogatives. it's been talked about third circuit nominee paul maddie even though both home state senators haven't returned blue slips. and the white house did not seek either of the nomination and informed them after the fact. they didn't even arrange a meeting between the nominee in both home state senators. and to call this meeting before consultation is beyond laughable but here we are conducting a hearing. make no mistake, contingent upon this path would do lasting damage to this body. the senate is supposed to be the conscience of the nation.
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rubber stamping a process by which any white house wants to federal court a subordinate branch of government and subordinate to the wishes of the white house is not being the conscience of the nation. so my concerns, we're failing to protect the fundamental rights of home state senators, republicans and democrats, and we're failing in our constitutional duty to provide our advice and informed consent. we're not being the conscience of the nation and that should concern all of us. to conclude, one thing i've learned in my time in the enate is that chasing partisan ex-speed enzi creates disadvantage and creates lasting harm on the u.s. senate and it's to our power to put a stop to it and urge all senators to ensure the home
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state senators are afforded the same courtesies during the trump administration as they were during the obama dministration. if comity and bipartisanship has a future it will be incumbent upon us to rebuild the norms and traditions that make the u.s. senate the u.s. senate. thank you, mr. chairman. >> mr. chairman? senator grassley: i'd like to responsible to senator booker and senator leahy and then i'll call on you but i hope we get to the hearing and that this isn't an attempt to stop this hearing from taking place. >> certainly not. senator grassley: we've been able to get blue slips back from the following democratic senators this congress for circuit court nominees, senator schumer, durbin, clober char, peronal, buck worth, peters,
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stabenow, donnelly, bennett, hinrich, udall, shots, heitkamp and there might be others but clearly the white house regularly consults with home state senators. had an exchange of letters with senators from new jersey describing the white house version of events and also received the senators' responses, the new jersey senators' responses, and i think that that shows that the white house consulted in good faith without objection, i will enter those into the record and i think it's unfair to say that this is a rush job when this nominee has been up here since april. this committee has held numerous confirmation hearings for nominees without at least
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one positive blue slip. for example, we held five such hearings under chairman hatch for nominees of the sixth and ninth circuit. my colleagues have said that we haven't confirmed a nominee without home state senator support in nearly 30 years. what these colleagues don't mention is that the way senators used to block nominees, they opposed was through the filibuster at 60 votes. my democratic colleagues abolished the filibuster in 2013 to pack the d.c. circuit with liberal judges and both senator menendez and booker participated in that process. now it seems like they're asking for the right to block a nominee from even getting a hearing before the judiciary committee. i told my democratic colleagues at the time in november 2013 when that vote took place that
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they would regret abolishing the filibuster. now it used to be that 41 senators could block a nominee coming forward, so the issue that is being presented to me today is that one senator ought to be able to block a person from coming before the united states senate, even getting a hearing. senator harris? senator harris? >> no, senator hour ahno. -- hurano. and i would like to yield to senator booker before i make my statement. senator grassley: we're here to have a hearing, not a debate. senator booker: i want to make a point, our staffs are so burdened and busy and i can imagine your staff sass a chairman staff is probably beyond my imagination and you have such good people that work for you. i want you to know, sir, i think some of the information you said is not right and i say this with all due respect and
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really asking for just maybe some deference or grace from you as chairman. the first communication that came from your staff informing us about the scheduling of this hearing happened about a week ago. and it was after -- i'm sorry, telling us about your understanding about that we were consulted. i know your staff is probably telling you the date now. if i understand right and i can look at your staff, it was wednesday of last week when you all sent us that letter. after this hearing had already been scheduled, sir. if you or anybody from the staff had come and alerted me, i would have at least asked to meet with this judge. you characterized earlier -- mr. chairman, you characterized earlier that we didn't meet or refused to meet. to my knowledge, i have never refused to meet with anybody that the administration has put forward from supreme court
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justices to cabinet secretaries. and i guess what i'm asking you, sir, is it too much for an individual to ask -- i'm sorry, i was waiting for your staff because i know they were distracting you. is it too much for me to ask at least have the courtesy of having a meeting with this justice? i know five or 10 minutes may seem like a lot with this nominee because there's so many things that i feel like as the duly elected person from new jersey that senator menendez and i should at least have a chance to have a conversation with the justice before they come before this committee. and the order of events, i'm not sure if you know it, this was scheduled and then your office sent a letter to us to which we responded right away. and to characterize this as an objection over someone being conservative is just not fair and not true. to characterize the white house as meaningfully talking to us with this or negotiating is just not true. i'm a member of your committee, sir. i know that you would want any
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judge from your great state, that you would want at least the courtesy of having a meeting. sir, i offer you right now, i will go with this nominee, sit with him in my office, to have that courtesy conversation. menendez, i don't want to speak for my colleague but i imagine he would want that courtesy that any senator that's a member of your committee would want. we've never denied a meeting with this person. as a duly elected senator from new jersey for a nominee that has served in my city i was a mayor of is a matter of grace, i'm asking you to extend to me the opportunity before we have this hearing to have a more substantive conversation with this nominee. would you please grant my -- i will meet with him now in my office. senator grassley: no, i won't. and by the way, if you want to keep this discussion going, remember what you're putting these families and these nominees at stake. if you want to delay this hearing, they spent a lot of
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money to be here. they spent a lot of time to get here. sometimes we've had to schedule these two or three times. so let's go to -- who do you want, hurano first? yes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. there are four members who are here to make sure we listen to our nominees. ranking member and senator booker have made some very important points about how this committee handles judicial nominees and i share their concerns which i also have voiced over the last several months but would like to focus just a few comments on the oversight responsibilities of focus on the and naming of the federal justice. there are constitutional rules whether the appointee is seeking right now. but there's a question as to whether he will follow the advice of the department's
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ethics officials. it is clear to me the president appointed his friend, matthew whitaker to be acting attorney general against all laws, rules and practices as a way to stop or slow the mueller investigation. mr. whitaker is hardly qualified for the job and there is nothing in his record or his recent history to suggest he will demonstrate the necessary independent -- independence to do the job. it is essential to our oversight responsibility on this committee to examine all of these questions. so, mr. chairman, i'm asking today that this committee invite mr. whitaker to testify and explain to us under oath his fitness for this job and his plans as the head of the u.s. department of justice. as far as so many of us can see, this is just another action by president trump to protect himself. we have a responsibility on
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this committee to question this nominee. there are serious concerns not only as to whether it's even ethical for him to hold this position. we have no idea how long he will hold this position. senator grassley: how long are you going to take to bring something up and make these people sit here listening to something that is unrelated to this hearing [senator hirono: you're the only republican here so i will end by asking you to have mr. -- senator grassley: can i call on senator harris and listen to her? senator harris? senator harris: i actually have no comments except to say that i join the issue with my colleagues and i appreciate their tone and their willingness and desire to work in a bipartisanship way and in a cooperative way, and i find their comments to be reasonable and fair and with that, i have nothing else to say. senator grassley: i'm going to
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introduce people at this point. mr. maddie is currently a partner of lowenstein, sandler, llp and previously served as senior vice president and general counsel to the hospital in newark and before that charged a deputy chief counsel to governor christie and as a assistant u.s. attorney for the district of new jersey. mr. maddie also clerked on the third circuit and the u.s. district court for the district of new jersey, received his law degree soumah cum laude seton hall where he was editor and chief of seton hall law review. j.p. boulet is nominated to serve as district court judge, northern district of georgia. the judge is a graduate of the university school of law and currently a judge on the dekalb
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county superior court before a distinguished career in private practice at jones state, he served in the u.s. army office of staff judge advocate, and he also served as law clerk to a judge on the court to which he has been nominated. damon lichte is nominated to serve as district judge, northern district of indiana, mr. lichte is a graduate of -- graduate of the indiana school of law and spent most of his legal career in private practice with the law firm of barnes and thornberg, l.l.p., south bend. he handles a broad range of complex civil litigation matters. he served as a law clerk for judge robert miller on the northern district of indiana. he's also an adjunct professor at notre dame law school.
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nicholas ranjon is a graduate of the university of michigan law school. after law school he earned a fellowship in the office of ohio solicitor general. he then clerked for judge deborah cook, sixth circuit court of appeals. since 2005, he has practiced at the law firm of k.n.l. gates, l.l.p. in pittsburgh specializing in commercial and appellate matters and maintaining a robust pro bono ractice. now we will -- i'd like to have mr. maddie come. and would you -- i'd like to administer the oath before you sit down. do you affirm the testimony you're about to give before the committee will be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth so help you god? >> i do.
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senator grassley: you can now introduce your family and friends and you can make any opening statements you want to make and then we'll have five-minute rounds of questions. judge: thank you, mr. chairman, and good morning. i'd like to thank you, senator grassley and ranking member feinstein as well as senator leahy for the honor of appears before this committee today and thank our president for being nominated to serve. and for the opportunity to testify and senators menendez and booker who represent my lifelong home state of new jersey. mr. chairman, i don't have an opening statement but certainly would like to introduce several members of my family who i'm so pleasedo to have with me here today beginning with my wife, amy. amy is without question my greatest supporter and my deepest blessing. it is simply impossible for me to express the enormity of my
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gratitude for her support and her devotion. amy is also an attorney who works at our alma mater but more importantly she's the mother to our 2-year-old son michael. i can think of no higher honor and no greater privilege than serving as michael's father. it was our hope that he could join us here today for this great occasion but we watch him weekly dash through the aisles of our church and aisles of our supermarket, well, pretty much everywhere and know well his passions for dancing and singing and all things exuberant so out of respect for this committee's important work, michael is at home watching daddy or more likely watching elmo but either way, his parents love for him is unending. i'm also happy to have my mother, susan, a lifelong new jerseyan herself who gave up the second most challenging career of an elementary school teacher for that of the first, raising her two sons.
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i am who i am today because of my mother. and her endless emphasize on simplicity on hard work and honesty. i'm indebted to her today and always for her love and support. my brother scott, his wife christian and my uncle have traveled here today from their adopted home of north carolina. they're three of the best people and best parents i am privileged to know. and with them is their daughter and my goddaughter anna bell. although not able to be here today, i'd like to thank my extended family at home, particularly my mother and father-in-law who are selflessly caring for our son. i'd also thank the immeasurable support of my colleagues at my law firm and countless friends in government and in practice from whom i have learned the meaning of service to the law. i am particularly thankful for the guidance and counsel of my
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judicial role models, john an robert, for whom i was privileged to serve as a young attorney. from them i learned rewards of hard work and the principle of humility and enduring commitment to the law over personal preference. and a privilege to be confirmed to this position, i need look no further for their example of inspiration and for courage. finally, i thank governor chris christie who gave me the chance to represent the people of my state and whose leadership as a public servant has inspired me to always do more. once again, mr. chairman, i thank you for the privilege and honor of being here today and i look forward to answering the committee's questions. senator grassley: ok. tell me what you believe are the most important qualities of a judge. mr. matey: senator, in my nearly two decade of practice as attorney, i would say there are three essential qualities i have routinely seen in the jurists who i have been honored
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to appear before. first without question is integrity. the idea that is sacrosanct and established in our constitution that judges must decide without fear or favor, based only on the law that is given by this body and the precedent that guides them from the superior courts. second is humility. a judge must always remember that her or his job is to do justice under the law, not to act out of personal preference or partisan interests. and third is diligence. judging is hard work. the duty to decide cases fairly and impartially is an honor. and all those who would seek that privilege should be prepared for the sacrifice and the commitment of that duty requires. senator grassley: you'll come across cases where the law seems to compel a result you personally disagree with or may seem unfair to you. in those circumstances, how do you see your role and how do
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you apply the law? mr. matey: senator, i would use the same standard i've seen before judges that i appeared before time and time again, the law is what governs the resolution of cases and controversies. it's never personal preference. it is never a judge's sense of what the law should be. to use the famous formulation, a judge has neither will nor force. the role of the judiciary is to say what the law is as given by the body, the bodies of congress and the higher courts whose precedence they are bound to apply. that is the standard i have always seen in my practice and is the standard i'd be honored to uphold if honored with confirmation. senator grassley: when is it ever appropriate to resort to less legislative history when interpreting a statute if ever. mr. matey: senators, i understand the supreme court and third circuit guidance on this issue, it can be important to consider intrinsic materials
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in the determination of the plain meaning of the law itself. legislative history, as with all matters outside of the law is not an occasion for a judge to impart his or her preference to how the case should be decided but rather it can be an opportunity if there is ambiguity in the plain text of a statute to consult how the words were used in context and ordinary meaning in informing -- performing that interpretive task. senator grassley: two things, one, tell us about any pro bono experiences you've had and whatever you think you've done as a person, as a lawyer to contribute to the legal system. mr. matey: senator, i've been privileged to spend the vast majority, nearly the entirety of my career working on behalf of public entities and in the cause of the public. some of those positions have constrained my ability to take on outside clients but i have
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been honored at the work i've been able to do to improve, i believe, the conditions of justice in our state, as well as the lives of the individuals i've touched. and i think of a couple examples. first as an assistant united states attorney, i was privileged to work in one of the more challenging sections of our office dealing with matters of child exploitation and abuse. these were heart-wrenching cases whose facts and circumstanceses often were unimaginable. it was a privilege to represent those victims on behalf of the clauses that were at issue and to find justice for them. later as deputy chief counsel to governor christie and the state of new jersey, i was honored to work on one of the more significant matters that the state took on which was a constitutional amendment that revised the standards for pretrial detention and resulted in an end to a system of monetary bail that had too often confine individuals for low and minor offenses. more recently at university
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hospital where i served as general counsel, i had the privilege of starting the hospital's first re-entry program that allowed former justice involved individuals to come back into the community and as contributors and colleagues of hospital's work. each of these steps i haven't considered to be outside of my responsibility but considered it to be part of my role as an officer of the court and a representative of the legal standards that we all live by. senator grassley: senator leahy? senator leahy: thank you, mr. chairman. mr. matey, the christie administration was plagued by scandals while you served as the governor's chief ethics officer and deputy chief counsel. probably the most egregious -- one of the most egregious was the bridgegate scandal. a petty example of retribution but egregious. senior officials in governor
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christie's administration forced three lanes on the george washington bridge to be shut down as retaliation against the city of fort lee's mayor because he declined to endorse governor christie for re-election. fortunately ambulances responding to emergencies and police were caught in the traffic gentleman. and you reportedly authorized efforts by the christie administration officials to solicit political endorsements from mayors, including the fort lee mayor as long as it was technically done after hours. then the prosecutors came in and convicted the christie officials for their involvement in the scandal, and they stated they never attempted to separate politics from their jobs -- time working their jobs for political. so given that criminal duck was
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taking place at the highest level of the christie administration, do you believe you provided sufficient legal advice? mr. matey: senator, two responses. it's important to make clear for the record i had no knowledge, involvement or parts pailings in -- participation in any of those events. senator leahy: you accept no personal for these ethical lapses? mr. matey: the events that were the subject of a federal inquiry and federal criminal prosecution and convictions that are now pending before the third circuit was an appropriate response to difficult conduct. we certainly took steps to ensure at all times that the highest standards of appropriate, ethics and legality were followed in the office, regrettably that did not appear to happen in this case. senator leahy: months after gridgegate you fired one official for misconduct but that had been going on for nearly a year prior. did you make any efforts to
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monitor the mixing of politics and public service that was -- that you had green lighted during this political outreach? because after all you were the ethics officer. mr. matey: absolutely. there was a rig reduce system of monitoring and routine oversight of all members of the governor's office. senator leahy: how did this happen [mr. matey: what i know of the case from public reports as well as the charges that were brought by the united states attorney for the district of new jersey this was the unfortunate act of several individuals who decided to take matters outside of the law and into their own hands. i believe that is the basis under which those convictions were obtained. senator leahy: i look at some of the other scandals during that time when governor christie is running for re-election and is in the wake of running for the senate, he ran a tourism ad that basically was a campaign ad. it is paid for with $23 million
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of federal disaster relief funds which could have been going to -- well, could have been going to federal disaster relief. and it resulted in a federal audit into the potential misuse. you were responsible for the development of all legal advice to the governor. did you advise him in any way shape or manner on the use of $23 million worth of federal disaster relief for these ads? mr. matey: no, senator, i don't recall. while you accurately describe my job was to develop legal guidance for the office of counsel, i don't recall specifically being involved in providing guidance on that matter. senator leahy: did anyone give him guidance? mr. matey: i would be speculating to that. i don't know the answer to that. senator leahy: so many of the scandals, it's hard -- we don't have time to go through all of them, but when you were chief
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ethics officer in 2011, governor christie departed state senator and former governor richard codey of his security detail as political retaliation. were you aware of this? were you consulted in any way? mr. matey: i don't recall providing any guidance on that specific issue, senator. senator leahy: before or after? mr. matey: at any time. senator leahy: then in 2010 local prosecutors indicted the republican sheriff who was a close ally of governor christie shortly afterwards governor christie had the attorney general take over the case and of course the indictments were then dropped. did you have anything to do with that? did you give any advice one way or the other? mr. matey: i had nothing to do with that event at all, senator, and certainly had no participation in anything that was alleged. senator leahy: i'm trying to figure out what you did do in advising when the governor used $12.5 million state police
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helicopter to go to his son's baseball game, did you discuss that with him at all? mr. matey: two responses. my job generally, senator, was to provide guidance on all matters of legislation and legal inquiries that might come. it was a large office that dealt with a number of matters that were routinely coming before the governor as chief executive of the state, so there was probably hundreds of matters on which i consulted. on that specific question you're raising, i don't recall providing counsel or guidance on that question. senator leahy: my time is up but you may want to search your memory. you say you don't wall on -- don't recall on a lot of these things. we have questions for the record which also you have to answer under oath and i'll give you, mr. chairman.
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rogers has recognized that the judicial branch is not immune from the widespread problem of sexual harassment and is all kind is taken steps to address this issue. the followingnees two questions which i will ask you. since he became a legal adult, have you ever made unwanted requests or committed any verbal or physical harassment or assault of a sexual nature. >> no. >> have you ever had a discipline or a settlement related to this kind of conduct? >> no. >> u.s. -- you are first formernded by governor chris christie and you worked for mr. christie for 10 years, so you have a long-standing relationship with mr. christie. before mr. christie became governor, donald trump was considered a close friend had been battling new jersey auditors trying to collect taxes
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for his atlantic city casinos. they reported after mr. christie willingice, the state to settle for just $5 million of the $30 million tax bill they had been originally pursuing. did you know about this? mr. matey: senator, i did not. i concluded my service at the end of 2009 so that was after my service. >> so you knew nothing about this and you certainly did not advise the governor or not to take such an action as to settle for only $5 million? mr. matey: i had no involvement in the matter, no. >> you did learn about the incident after it occurred? >> i recall reading about it in public reports. >> since you had no responsibility, you took no action about it. when you are serving as legal counsel to governor chris to have, he was alleged used his official powers to
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retaliate against rutgers university professor rosenthal. he was the bipartisan choice to serve as the tie-breaking member of the commission that redistricted the state's legislative district. -- governor christie forsed rosenthal to push the republican, but he chose the democrat. he cut thousands of dollars from two programs of mr. rosenthal's program at rutgers. did you know about this incident? mr. matey: i recall certain parts of the events you are describing. i am aware that every year, the governor was charged with reviewing the annual appropriations act, so there could have been line item vetos,
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but i do not have any recollection of providing counsel our guidance on the overall arc of the matter. >> if you knew that the governor was using his line items to retaliate, that is what it looks like. 150 $9,000 from two programs that mr. rosenthal -- $169,000 from two programs that mr. rosenthal had. would you have advised the governor? aware of any use of the line item vetos for political or parochial -- >> when he decided, did he ever talk to you about how he used his line item ve were you in -- veto, were you involved in any of those discussions? mr. matey: certainly.
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unquestionably, i would have had conversations with the governor regarding that. >> but not as to this particular action? known about it, you have advised them not to do it? mr. matey: my guidance of the council of governments is always been clear. the laws of this nation govern our conduct and that was the standard i observed every day. >> you would have advised him not to do it because even the appearance of conflict would have been a concern to you? i would havell, followed the law and i would have directed the governor as all members of the staff to abide by the legal standards to govern the conduct of the office. >> let me ask one more question before my time is up. while you are serving as legal governor christie, he was alleged to have used his official powers to benefit a donor. in the wake of hurricane sandy,
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christie awarded $159 million to a florida-based firm, and just after, there was $50,000 donated to the republican governor association which christie was vice-chairman. did you know about this one? mr. matey: i did. >> what did you advise the governor to do? happy to confirm that i worked on a particular matter, it would be appropriate -- inappropriate. >> so you are asserting attorney-client privilege? mr. matey: the attorney-client privilege always rests with the client and not the attorney. >> so you are asserting attorney-client privilege on behalf of your client. thank you. i will have further questions for the record mr. chairman. sen> --
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it thank you for being here today, and it is nice to see the two most important women in your life that are here today and it is very meaningful, especially that they come from jersey. you would have met with me if i'd requested are the white house requested it, correct? mr. matey: senator, thank you for those remarks and think you for the partnership that you and your staff always showed to me. that ongoing by relationship and absolutely, i look to the guidance of the political process under the canons of judicial conduct of keeping myself out of the political process but mindful of policy interests. sen. booker: i respect that, but you would have met with me if the white house that asked. mr. matey: i would have followed whatever guidance the white house -- sen. booker: to your knowledge, did the white house ever request
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that we meet? mr. matey: i do not know that request was made. sen. booker: i appreciate you being candid. you and i have known mr. mcgann for years, correct? mr. matey: yes. sen. booker: and he never requested you? not recalli do having any conversations with members of the administration for the process that led to my nomination. sen. booker: this is a matter of two guys from jersey. au would understand that if senator elected by the people that a judge coming from their state, they would probably want to meet with the person in a conversation. mr. matey: i have great an unyielding respect for the important work you do on behalf of our state, absolutely. sen. booker: and you stepped up and youospital position
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let folks know that the hospital have been troubled financially with a lot of challenges and the governor put people the trusted in positions of authority to try to help the hospital, which is an important institution in our city. correct? mr. matey: one of the most critical aspects of our city, yes. sen. booker: there is lots of aspects i would like to discuss, i do not know how many rounds we are going to get here. a lot of rounds that i wished we could discuss in private. perhaps i could go to an issue that i wish we had a lot more time to discuss but, my staff as your teams try to do best as we can to manage a hospital through a crisis but patient service really nosedived. safety records in 2015, a patient organization that evaluates hospitals gave
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the hospital a c grade following 2015, it maintained that the grade, but 2016, the hospital grade fell to a d level, and just this year, f grade. can you characterize that tanking at all? mr. matey: certainly, senator. i know more recently the grade has risen again so that speaks to the ongoing efforts, but no question, the health care industry is a challenging environment to maintain. that, there needs to be a greater calibration of resources and attention to the most fundamental questions which is patients safety. that was largely outside of my , but it wasounsel
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something we were always focused on as hospital administrators of trying to improve to the best of our ability. you do not see any role or responsibility for you in your role in the hospital at all for the legal implications and you know there are a lot of legal actions that resulted from the level of mistakes that were taken. this is not common. only 22 hospitals received an f grade, none received the d grade , do you take any responsibility at all? mr. matey: absolutely. there is no question that i and all of the leaders of a hospital were very, very concerned that there were rankings that we did not think reflected the quality of the outcomes. absolutely. something we were more focused on the medical side which deals with technical issues regarding infections and things like that,
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but there is no question that i felt personally invested in every patient. sen. booker: was your job to mitigate risks? mr. matey: certainly, we try to get ahead of risks. sen. booker: seeing the grade what- decline, action did you take the try to correct? mr. matey: i do not recall lawsuits that arose but your point to was right, it was important to find a pathway to improve quality outcomes. that is reflected in the current month's score which is a letter grade higher. of the the hard work nurses, the allied professionals, and the but itns, -- physicians, was something that all of us were focused on. sen. booker: mr. chairman, my thereinutes are up, and are considerable issues going on in our statement relate to this nominee that i believe deserve a significant amount more of discussion.
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these are discussions that should have happened between me and the nominee before this moment and i do not know how , but clearly,nds my time has expired. lahey has one short question, why don't i give you another five minutes after that? , this nominee would surely talk to you at any time in private as well. see? >> my question is a legal one. issaid the role of a judge to say what the law is. a case whered everyone of us was in law school first monthin the of law school and certainly by the second month. but the acting attorney general whitaker who said that marbury
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vs. madison was a bad ruling, do you agree? mr. matey: it is inconsistent with the canons of judicial conduct, and that is outside of my ability to comment on matters. >> you think it was a bad ruling? -- marburymad versus madison is a landmark ruling that is binding fully on the courts of the united states and it would be applied by me faithfully if i was honored by confirmation. >> do you believe that the iseral judiciary committee part of the independent coequal branches of government? mr. matey: the principle of the independence of our united states courts should be unquestioned. that is the system that is created under article three, it is the proposition that i've always adhered to -- >> it is not a subordinate
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branch of government? mr. matey: the code glow branches of government as i understand it are charged with unique and different possible -- the coordinated branches of government as i understand it are charged with unique and different responsibilities. authority -- >> that does not make it subordinate? mr. matey: i look at it is an independent function. your answer is careful but a lot better than mr. whitaker's, thank you. >> if you would like to have a fellow iowan tell another iowan which mr. whitaker is, that you ought to forget that. theury versus madison is
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basis of the judicial branch checking the other two branches of government as far as i am concerned. senator booker, do you want five more minutes? sen. booker: i will take whatever amount of minutes you will give me. >> thank you, mr. chairman. asked you when i about the state or mr. christie was the governor to settle with with the trumpet administration for $5 million rather than the $30 million tax bill, you said you were no longer the u.s. attorney's office. this happened in 2011 when you were with governor christie as his counsel and chief officer. your earlier response to me made it seem as though you had nothing to do with it, but you were right there with governor christie win this settlement occurred, were you not? mr. matey: a couple of responses. have no knowledge about
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this matter other than perhaps having read it public news accounts so i am very limited in my understanding of the specifics. i recollect reading about it but i was never involved in prosecutor or governor. >> were you his chief or counsel at this time? mr. matey: i would've been serving as his deputy chief counsel in 2011, yes. >> but you have no discussion with him about this settlement provide million dollars over $30 million bill? mr. matey: that is correct, senator. >> that seems odd. though the governor have a lot of attorneys that he would discuss these matters with -- does the governor have a lot of attorneys that he would discuss these matters with this rather large settlement that he did with mr. trump? mr. matey: i am not familiar
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with the facts and circumstances of this particular matter and it answer, but i can tell you that i was honored to work with a few dozen attorneys who worked in the counsel's office to the governor. >> the view say that the governor had a few dozen attorneys? mr. matey: i am probably overestimating it, senator, this was a large office. there were numerous attorneys that worked on all of the matters. >> you are not one of them with regard to this particular situation. while mr. christie was the u.s. attorney and you worked with him as the assistant attorney, he reportedly struck a deal in which he agreed not to charge the company for securities fraud and exchange for the company's funding a professorship at mr. ,hristie's alma mater and your
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motter. bush administration so uneasy that the justice department issued new rules in may 2008 limiting prosecutors discretion to make such deals. the do know about this? mr. matey: i am aware, yes. >> you are aware of it. did you have any role to play? not -- i did not. i believe that was entered into prior to my joining the office, but i may be off slightly. i did not touch upon the specific issue discussed. >> if you had known, would you u.s. attorneyhe mr. christie not to engage in this kind of settlement because the obvious quid pro quo is clear? my work as a united
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states attorney was always to follow the law faithfully as given by this congress. thatply the statutes governed as well as the prosecution of criminal matters. that is how i conducted myself and i would have conducted myself in any matter. >> while mr. christie was u.s. attorney and you were assistant attorney, he reportedly increased the use of cases of financial impropriety by letting companies except independent monitors. these monitors were appointed by the u.s. attorney, mr. christie, and also received millions of dollars of fees paid by the company. the bush administration was so uncomfortable with about seven agreements that mr. christie assigned because he had appointed political allies and supporters and monitors and some of these cases and one infamous deal of mr. christie appointing john ashcroft over a firm. millions ofceive
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dollars in fees for 18 months of work as a monitor. it was controversial. did you know about this incident? mr. matey: had no involvement in those matters. i was aware of them. you were an assistant u.s. attorney in all of things u.s.swirling around to attorney christie, you had no knowledge of these kinds of ethical concerns were surrounding mr. christie? mr. matey: certainly, two responses. the individuals who works as assistant united states attorneys handled their matters through a hierarchy of supervisory review.
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serving a federal prosecutor, i was not aware of any issues regarding lapses in ethics. i am certainly not aware of any that i was involved in. i considered representing the united states department of justice to be considered one of the greatest privileges of my life. i entered into my court counsel being informed that we had about 14,000 employees and a 3500 workmen compensation claims. you can imagine my reaction to that news. i togetherunsel and a strategy to mitigate risk to drive those rates down and put together systems to change the pattern for one legal crisis. when i took over from mayor james, there were a lot of crises i had to address. the safety issue that the
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hospital were so extreme, this is the director of operations describing them. we see that they had a very high rate of foreign objects left in after surgery. i do not want to read the whole describingbut just really things that would shock the consciousness of anybody in our community. you haveondering, did that kind of swat team pulled together and can you describe to me what you would do knowing that human lives are being put at risk by practices in the hospital as he watched the rating go down. based on the data coming out of your hospital. mr. matey: absolutely. i had sent -- similar experiences to you reviewing the statistics of outstanding claims, -- mr. matey: -- sen. booker: can you detail the actions you took to address this crisis? mr. matey: as i recall, it was the entire focus of the administration.
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what actions did you take knowing that human lives were at risk? mr. matey: one of the things i wasll that we worked on increasing the protocols and policies that governed the procedures that would be taking place at the hospital so that accident happened less. surgeries are obligated gated matters but sometimes by systemizing the process, you can improve the results. i certainly do not want to take credit for this, but i think it is those steps that allowed the hospital to move up a full letter grade. sen. booker: was the number one priority and again, i am not getting specifics out of you. similar frightening experiences about human lives being put at risk and i can tell few years agol a what specific actions we took.
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one of the specific was creatinge did a more systemized process for surgical and related procedures. the element of discretion and use only a protocol that would result in a of step checklist dealing with the problems you mentioned. basiccond, to emphasize practices like handwashing and hygiene that you can imagine in an emergency best sen. booker: i'm going to interrupt you, not out of disrespect, but how much leeway the chairman is going to give me. should think -- shifting gears, i know the incredible work you did on some really horrific gutwrenching cases you described, so that is not the questioning that -- all of new jerseyians ou respect.
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--ant to know what your time owe you respect. it surprised me compared to some other nominees how you really could not list pro bono activities. you know the american bar association's code calls for every lawyer regardless of professional prominence or workload to find time to service the disadvantage. you and i share a community where there is tremendous disadvantage. you are at a firm and i've worked with them on incredible pro bono cases. are you right now in private practice, or your time at the you doingwere independent pro bono activities on behalf of the disadvantaged in our community? mr. matey: i agree with you that
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this is an important commitment and that is something that i tried it to honor. -- i tried to honor. first, the program of reentry for individuals who had been previously incarcerated. finding a pathway to bring people out of our nation's jails and into our hallways where i was proud to call them my colleagues. second, there were cases where i had the chance to represent significant patient cases. mr. matey: -- sen. booker: what about your time right now, are you involved in any of the many pro bono activities that i know your firm is doing? mr. matey: i am not currently providing any guidance as pro bono counsel, i am continuing my work for public matters. you wereer: i asked if
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to amend your questionnaire would you do that? mr. matey: yes. time,ooker: i'm over my can i be afforded another five minutes? [indiscernible] >> thank you, mr. chairman. the other four people, and, and i will administer those before you sit down. if you want to wait until we get your name right in front.
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do you all affirmative testimony that you are about to give
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before the committee will be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth so help you god? all: i do. >> we will start with mr. boulee for you to make any opening statements. ask tochairman, i just consent that a statement by senator casey and support of mr. ranjan -- that i pronounce that correctly? >> ranjan, senator. >> i'm sorry. in support of him and we have senator casey, can we put that in the record. >> without objection and also, i received the numerous letters, those will also be put in the record. mr. boulee, any opening statement you want to make and in the introduction for family
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and friends. boulee: senator grassley and ranking member lay h, ranking member feinstein, and the rest of the judiciary committee for having me here today. i greatly appreciate the opportunity. i would like to thank president nominating me and senators isaacson and purdue for their continued support. them but not only to the members of georgia's federal judicial appointments screening committee for recommending me. have a formalnot opening statement, i would like to take a minute or two to introduce my family to you. as is myer is here son. orrest is sporting the winston churchill tied. pilar loves to listen to and
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tell stories, forrest plays a has since heand he was two or three years old. and currentlyght in negotiations for an electric and, banjo, or drum set or areof the above -- they both kind and generous at their young ages and they are that way because they have learned that from my amazing wife, julie. painter and was also an art teacher when we first met. is what we she affectionately call the hummingbird homeschool teacher. i cannot and words explain to me how much julie means to me. i love her beyond measure. my mother is here with me as well.
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mom is retired from among other things, teaching. she was a single mother. i credit her for my work ethic. my father who passed away several years ago was first a farmer in illinois and in a high school shopkeeper. -- shop teacher. dad taught me there is some good in everyone. my sister is back home in georgia, teaching. she is an art teacher. i'm joined by my brother-in-law if i may, i would also like to manyly thank a few of the people who have been helpful to me in my career. who becamee evans the first woman to serve on the north georgia bench in 1979 appointed by president carter. she taught me that a good judge makes their decisions based not on personal opinions, but on the law. robert kazeneral
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lent and davidson. both of who i worked with on the air assault. ands a prosecutor operational advisor for the general and i worked with the colonel robertson as a public defender. the general taught me to get to the point quickly because infantry officers do not always have unlimited time to hear from their jag. colonel robertson tommy there are two sides to every story. next -- colonel robertson taught me that there are two sides to every story. and handling cases helped me find my true calling back in the public sector. finally, georgia governor nathan had confidence in me and put me on the superior court bench and the voters who kept me there.
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as well as my fellow judges and a top-notch staff, casey, andana, thie ann, tisha, that the madison. i appreciate you giving me the opportunity to entegris my family to you and thanks some of the people who have been important to me in my career. i would be happy to answer any questions that you and the committee have of me. >> thank you. theuld like to thank committee as a whole for the opportunity to be here today and for your consideration of my nomination. i would like to particularly my u.s. senator bill cassidy and his staff for all of his support throughout this process. i would also like to thank senator john kennedy for all of his support. it means a lot to me that i have the support of both of my home state senators throughout this
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process. thankd also like to president trump the honor of this nomination. to be hereat honor and the consideration of this committee and for his nomination. i would like to introduce my beautiful and loving wife, angie here with me today. counselor andsed she has dedicated her life to helping others and we are celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary in a few weeks and she is the rock of our family and the love of my life. we are so blessed to have two wonderful daughters who could not be here with us today because of their college obligations, but i would like to recognize them. is a junioraughter at the university of texas at austin where she is majoring in nursing. our youngest daughter is a freshman at smu in dallas where she is majoring in dance performance and getting her
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prerequisites for occupational therapy. i would like to thank both of my parents and my sister melissa who unfortunately could not be here, but who have always been supportive of me. i would like to thank my law partners at my law firm who have been very supportive. finally mr. chairman, thank you and the committee and i look forward to answering any questions that the committee may have. you, chairman grassley. thank you to you and ranking member feinstein for scheduling this hearing and thank you for sitting member leahy for presiding over this hearing. allow me to think the president for the honor and privilege of this nomination and the opportunity to be considered in serving the nation in this capacity. and senator dow
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lee for their kind words throughout this process, i am a proud hoosier and having the support of my two home senators means a great deal to me. i would like to make a few introductions. with me today seated directly carmen.e is my wife, she works at the provost office at the university of notre dame and i would not be here without her love and support over 23 years. if you were to look at the dictionary at the word remarkable, you would see her picture. my beautiful daughter mckenna is a junior at adams high school in south bend. she plays for the varsity basketball team and she is a brilliant young woman and she is hoping that today will cover class. her ap
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my son is smart, kind, and a fierce hockey player. when i asked him today when i should tell the committee about tim, she told me -- he told me to tell the committee that we are buddies forever. my dad and mom are here. my father is a retired elementary educator for 40 years and he has been my teacher for longer than that. my mother sharon was once a registered nurse and now devotes her time to grandkids. they've been married 54 years and they've always been loving parents. brian, aon with me is steadfast friend of mine of 32 years, he is as much a leichty as anyone. i am truly blessed to have my family here. there are many other family members, two sisters, and many friends who are here in spirit and all have offered their love
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and prayers which i cherish. mentorsagues, various have been gracious to me with their talents over the years ended through this process and i wish to it knowledge -- to acknowledge that. a special thank you goes to a man who has taught me much about what it means to be a federal judge. last, my students at the university of notre dame's law school. i am a man of my word and i promise to acknowledge your exceptional talent. thank you for the privilege of being here. mr. ranjan: good morning. thank you mr. chairman and ranking member feinstein and ranking member leahy for presiding over this. it is a humbling experience to be before this committee. i would like to start by thanking god, it is only through his grace that i am here.
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i would also like to thank all of the individuals who have supported me in my nomination. my homelike to thank state senators for supporting and advancing my nomination to the president. senator, i appreciate you entering the senator casey's support, and i apologize for missing his phone call this morning. the 20 like to thank members of the bipartisan commission. that is back home in pittsburgh who worked tirelessly in the selection process and i would also like to thank president trump the honor of the nomination. i would like to introduce and think some of my family. my wife of 15 years is here with me today. speech language pathologist at the pittsburgh the a hospital for many years working with veterans what suffered strokes and dramatic brain injuries. she is more recently been
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serving our family as a stay-at-home mother caring for our three kids. i am thankful for her love and support throughout the years and she is a wonderful wife, mother, and best friend. wearing a beautiful black and gold dress which is a shout out to the city of champions. my oldest daughter is here today. she is in the first grade. she is one of the kindest and sweetest kids you will me. her favorite place to go on vacation is to washington dc, so this is extra special. they arewin sons, three years old and staying with my in-laws in ohio. we were tempted to bring them but we are not prepared to bear witness to the damage they would inflict on this room, but other than jumping off of furniture, they are great boys. e, justices to hik loves to complain when we go on hikes. mybrother-in-law and
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sister-in-law from ohio, they have come with some nieces and nephews, bennetts, elliott, wyatt, and iyla. i'm glad all of the kids can get a great civics lesson by being here today. i would like to thank my parents and sister. herether and sister are with me today. my father could not make it but he is watching back home in texas. my parents are immigrants to this country. i cannot even imagine moving to a new country away from all family and friends. has providedy took me with the opportunities to be here today and to give back to this country that has blessed them. they taught my sister and me a number of important lessons including faith in god, caring for those in need, and obedience to the law, and the value of hard work. of myd like to thank all friends, mentors, mentees, and coworkers. three of my friends cammy and .oday -- came in today
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i appreciate them being here. i appreciate the support of my colleagues at my law firm. the lawyers gave me opportunities from day one to work on some of the most challenging and complex cases in lead roles. the firm gave me abilities to devote 100 hours each year to mentor attorneys, pro bono and the-- clients, support has been firm. such bittersweet to leave a great place and i only do so for this rare opportunity for public service. thank you. >> thank you. maybe this will be the only place but it is a pretty important one to me for each of you, so i will start with mr. boulee and go across, but you do
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repeat, if you agree, you can simply say so. you will come across cases where the law seems to compel a result that you personally disagree with our may seem unfair to you. in those circumstances, how do you see your role as a judge and the application of the law? and i guess, remember in your testimony, you learned this from the person you clerked for. mr. boulee: exactly, senator. i was about to say before i became a judge, thought theoretically about the separation of powers and the proper role of the judiciary. you along with your colleagues wethe house make the law and as judges whether it is on state courts are federal courts by the law. on thenot until i was bench that i realized just how important that is.
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it does not happen all that often but periodically there are instances in which the law of mys one result personal opinion might be different. i am happy to report to you mr. have never been tempted, i have never given into that temptation. if i'm fortunate enough to be confirmed to the u.s. sister court for the northern district of georgia, i will never give in to those temptations. i will apply the law. mr. cain: yes, thank you. i concur with mr. boulee printed at no time should our personal believes enter into our decision-making -- mr. boulee, at no time should our personal beliefs enter our decision-making. the result is what the law is going to lead us to. i do not believe ever our
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personal believes it should enter into that decision-making. duty is to: our apply the law fatefully, the various constitutes of the -- -- i know our jury should in the northern district of indiana quite well and we have a long-standing and historic tradition of following the obligation to the letter. confirmed, i will join them in that endeavor. senator, our system only works if judges follow the law. to bem fortunate enough confirmed, i would set aside any personal preferences or views in order to face the leopold -- in uphold. i commit to that.
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sen. grassley: what are the most important qualities of a judge? boulee: first off, just how a case progresses through the court, one important issue is to work hard and move cases. myeel proud of the fact that staff and i have reduced the caseload in my division by over 40% since the time i took the bench. practice, in private sometimes my clients needed a decision. a judge needs to move cases. judge needs to be prepared when they get the court. they need to read their briefs of the parties and they need to do independent research to make sure they understand the law going into the hearing. a judge also at that hearing
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needs to be respectful. respectful to the parties. respectful to the lawyers. as the fairness, a judge needs to make sure that he or she enters into each case with no bias and no prejudice. know where i'mou going to end, and that is by saying that a judge needs to apply the law. not let their personal preferences dictate their decisions. mr. cain: thank you, mr. chairman. cruciale there are elements to being a judge but diligent, fairness, and a temperament are three of the most important. ethic inin your work the courtroom, in fairness, everyone comes before you should be treated with dignity and respect and in the courtroom,
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and in a lot of cases, the one and only time people are ever being in the courtroom and they need to be treated fairly and justly, and finally, temperament to be able to handle the situations and treat the attorneys as well as the with respect and the discharging our responsibilities. my colleagues on the panel have it right. i thinkrds, impartiality is a key quality of any judge. the ability to hear the , toments of all parties research and understand the law, and to apply that law fatefully and impartial lead to the matter at hand is an essential element of being a judge. secondly, i think the judge needs to have integrity, and that integrity means not only protecting the independence and the dignity of the federal
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bench, but it also means ensuring that procedures and processes employed in the courtroom are done in the right way. any nominee or federal judge needs to have both a blend of intellect and industry. there is going to be a heavy docket for all of us if we are confirmed to the bench, and that is going to require a great deal and industry to ensure that opinions and decisions are made in a timely basis and in the right way. last, a judge needs to be civil. civilitythe begin of of civility and need to lead by respect. i would agree with
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only addsts, i would this, a long time managing partner at mylar firm said this that three characteristics that make a great judge our availability, halfability, and ability. what i mean by that is availability, good judges are accessible to the parties and to the lawyers that appear before them. humor, common sense, and are respectful to the litigants. and finally, they are able and knowledgeable about the law and should always strive to outwork the lawyers that appear before them. leahy: thank you. i tried a of cases of the state court, -- aederal lot of cases at the state court and federal court. able togant should be
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look at the judge or judges sitting there and assume they are going to be treated fairly irrespective of political background. would you agree? absolutely. mr. cain: yes. mr. leichty: yes, they should know that. mr. ranjan: yes. leahy: a friend of mine although we disagreed often, he argued that they go protection clause does not extend to women. the equal protection clause does not extend to women. the constitution permit discrimination against women? if that is your question, yes. mr. boulee: do you agree --
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>> do you agree with justice scalia's statement? mr. boulee: i am not familiar, but as a judicial nominee, i would confirm the president of the supreme court of the ully.d states faithf i do not believe that the cost of titian permits discrimination against women -- i do not believe the constitution permits dissemination against women. i do not know the comments. leahy: would you agree with the statement at the eagle protection clause is not extend to women? mr. cain: my understanding is that eagle protections are afforded to all.
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-- equal protections are for to all. equalichty: the projections clause extends for all and i believe that as president and binding on my core and i would apply that law. senator, i agree, the supreme court has spoken of this issue that the equal projections clause protects women and applying the test of the supreme court is laid out and statutes that potentially discriminate against women are subject to injured intermediary scrutiny. trump'sg president campaign, he called for total and complete shutdown of muslims entering the united states. withouty speaking,
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going into the travel ban or anything else, does the first amendment allow the use of a religious litmus test for entry into the united states? senator, you are asking that about a religious litmus test under the first amendment. as torst amendment is freedom of religion, freedom of speech, and you reference the trump v. hawaii case. as i sit here, and be inappropriate for me to comment. >> does the first amendment allow a religious litmus test? mr. boulee: again, what i believe you are asking to is a religious litmus test. i sit here before you as a judicial nominee, i believe would be an appropriate of me to
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preview how i would rule in the case of religious litmus test, respectfully, senator. could you allow the use of a religious litmus test for entry into the united states? sit heree: again, i before you as a nominee. >> i understand, mr. cain. the first amendment is a prohibition of the government against the establishment clause of any religion. i think that is a policy decision for congress and the executive branch, and i do not believe under canon 5, it would be appropriate for me to comment. ahy: you are suggesting that if congress wants to propose a religious litmus test, they can? mr. cain: no, it is not that. a policy decision that congress chooses to enact is within their
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purview and it would not be appropriate for me to comment. senator, i think the constitution as a whole is resisted by a religious litmus test. this is a political matter and one that is likely soore the federal judiciary, given that, it would inappropriate for me to provide predictions or to comment on that matter any further. i would echo what my panelists said, but with respect to the first amendment, generally, congress is limited by the first amendment i -- as applied by the supreme court in limitations of and things such as the establishment clause . prec are the
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edents that undergird how congress can act. so you go little stronger than a policy question for congress. as a policy, the congress must limit itself to the policy of what the constitution says. mr. ranjan: the presumption is that congress acts constitutionally and in the thet that congress violates constitution, litigants can bring claims. >> what does the constitution say that the president should do if they receive a foreign -- do you want to start? senator, i've been practicing for 22 years, first as a prosecutor and then as a
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public defender. after that, private practice for 14 years doing civil litigation, mostly defense side. several years, i've been on the bench and i have to concede to you that that is not an issue that i've been presented with. that one presented with the bench, what i would do is i would read the parties'briefs,, research the issue, listen to the arguments in a hearing -- >> you don't know what the constitution says about a do -- nt must it is in the constitution, wrecked? mr. boulee: as i stated, -- i am not asking you to interpret it, but it is in the constitution, is it not? mr. boulee: yes, but i cannot
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speak in detail to it. >> most people have not. yes, the clauses in the constitution and it extends president and members of congress in certain even the cabinet members, but yes, it is in the constitution. >> there is an emoluments clause in the constitution. there is historical underpinning to that. john jay, as i may recall? the king of spain at one point which may be reason for its conclusion. mr. leichty: i haven't read it for some time, i must confess. my recollection is there a may not hile members
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accept emoluments but they may do so unless congress permitted. i think there's some savings grace, ability within the constitutional provision. mr. ranjan: senator, that's my recollection as well. i do remember the john jay historical underpinnings and benjamin franklin received a diamond-studded snuff box from the king of france which is why that clause was put in the constitution. it's a clause that's not been widely interpreted, if at all, by the supreme court or any other courts of appeals. i would have to look for guidance from the text. senator leahy: only senator grassley and i were around at the time that john jay and benjamin franklin. [laughter] senator leahy: on january 3, he'll be the most senior member of the republican party. i am currently the most senior
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member of the senate. what happens if a president, any executive, secretary, whatever, refuses to comply with a federal court order? how do the courts respond? court is ordered the president or -- court has ordered the president or secretary of the interior to do something, they refuse, what is the recourse for the court, mr. boulee, judge boulee? don't give the andrew jackson answer. mr. boulee: i won't, mr. chairman. senator, when we're talking about article 1, article 2, disagreements there, you think about the youngstown steel decision. that's what comes to mind, first off, for me.
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but the president is his or her strongest when he's acting with congress. a president is at his or her lowest ebb when he's acting or she's acting against congress. and then finally in the middle when congress hasn't acted, you're in what i think the case calls the zone of twilight as to the president's actions. further, you think about the marbury v. madison case. no man is above law. you think of u.s. v. nixon and the presidential powers addressed in that case. senator leahy: i'm well aware of youngstown steel. again, every one of us went to law school. every one of us had to either write papers or answer questions on that. my specific question -- if a president or any other executive branch official refuses to comply with a
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federal court order, what's the response of the court? mr. boulee: senator, again -- senator leahy: straight up or down refusal, an order is given the official, refuses, what is the recourse for the court? mr. boulee: certainly, senator. again, i would say u.s. v. nixon, first off, as a case that comes to mind but as far as the actual question you're asking -- that may well be something that's part of our current public debate. it's a political issue. and i think as a nominee for federal district court judgeship it would be inappropriate for me under the cannons to discuss an issue about the president and how -- senator leahy: nixon, was the nixon case properly decided, in your mind? mr. boulee: senator, u.s. v. nixon is a precedent of the
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supreme court of the united states. senator leahy: it was an order and president nixon had to respond to it, is that correct? mr. boulee: that's correct, senator. u.s. v. nixon is a precedent of the supreme court of the united states. it's one of the landmark decisions. if i were fortunate to be confirmed i would follow u.s. v. nixon, other precedent of the supreme court as well as the precedent of the 11th circuit. senator leahy: but you're not willing to take a position what, as a judge -- what a court can do if a government official refuses to follow a court order? mr. boulee: well, again, senator, i would cite first off the cannon of ethics and i would look to some of the other folks that have sat here have said. you look at what justice ginsburg said. she said we shouldn't give any hints. you look at what justice kagan said, no thumbs up, no thumbs down. respectfully, i believe your question does go to a political
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question and i would be it would be inappropriate to answer it. senator leahy: mr. cain. mr. cain: i concur with my fellow candidate, mr. boulee. it is hypothetical. i believe it would be inappropriate under the cannons to respond. mr. leichty: you senator leahy, i have tremendous respect for the separation of powers but this is a question that in 20 years of extensive practice in federal courts i never had to encounter it. i've never been in the role of a judge to hear someone say in response to an order, i will refuse to comply with that. and that is such an issue in hat it pits -- potentially pits branches of government to each other that needs a great deal of briefing, a great deal of thought, very studious
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thought of that before i could answer. i would need to do that before i respond to my question. mr. ranjan: i can speak generally courts have the power to issue orders in order of their execution of judgments as well as contempt authority. those are tip youcally the powers that would come into play. seeking to enforce a judgment. but with respect to the particular sitting president now in a particular case i think that would bear on a political question. senator leahy: let's go into this. the judicial branch has a constitutional duty to prevent unconstitutional exercises of power. just in the abstract, is that correct? >> senator, i would say you have to have a case before you as a court before you engage in that discussion. senator leahy: if you have a case before you, do you look at
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the judicial branch's -- could it be a case where you look at the judicial branch's constitutional duty to prevent unconstitutional exercises of power? is it a possibility there being such a case? mr. boulee: well, senator, i don't want to speak to whatever potential case you might be speaking about. senator leahy: i'm not. i'm not speaking of any potential case. i'm just asking you as an abstract legal question. mr. boulee: i think members of all branches take an oath to support and defend the constitution of the united states. yes, senator. mr. cain: if i understand your question, senator, it's as if you're asking if the court could give an advisory opinion in advance on a constitutional -- senator leahy: no, no. i think it would be a case where they have a case before them and whether they have the
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-- to give an order to prevent an unconstitutional exercise of power. mr. cain: i believe the court has the power if the facts presented allow for an injunction, any you type of remedy like that, the court could enter to -- if the case so presented itself. senator leahy: having sought injunctions in private practice, i agree with your answer. mr. leichty: senator leahy, it's a terribly difficult question in the abstract. i think given the authority under article 3 of the constitution that the federal judiciary has the ability to declare the constitutionality of certain statutes, for
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instance. that's certainly laid down by the united states supreme court which is precedent upon which we may rely. of course, that's hinged and dependent on the facts of the law so as justifying that conduct by the federal bench. mr. ranjan: senator, again, i agree with my panelists. i think that's within the power of the judiciary if there's a specific case brought before a court to adjudicate constitutional issues which may extend to injunctive relief to join unconstitutional conduct. senator leahy: well, and dependent upon where you're -- who's th the exercising the power, obviously all know that if it's a major person at the executive level, things will eventually
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end up before the supreme court. i am just speaking as a lawyer, eing pragmatic about it. do you assume there are cases, if we're doing that, where the court has to balance the president's expertise in national security matters? with the constitution? mr. cain, do you want to weigh into that one or duck the question? mr. cain: no, i would think you, senator, that there always -- everyone in government, executive, legislative, has to always be cognitive of the constitution and constitutionality of their actions. if that's what you're going towards, i understand your question. senator leahy: i heard some debates sometimes on the senate
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floor you wonder whether that happens, but judge boulee? mr. boulee: sure. under article 2, the president has enforcement powers. and if one of the -- if the united states citizen thinks he's done or she's done more than he or she should do, that citizen has the right to bring you a case. senator leahy: and any president has enforcement powers. those enforcement powers have to be within the constitution as a general -- as a general matter. mr. boulee: well, as far as his enforcement powers, certainly we always start with the constitution. as a judge, i always start with the constitution or the statute at issue. then we have to obviously think about how that's been informed by precedent, senator. senator leahy: thank you. mr. leichty: senator leahy, i think our colleagues articulated the question quite
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right and i don't have anything else to add to that. senator leahy: but what i'm saying is we are a country where the constitution really speaks for all of us ultimately. i realize the supreme court can interpret the constitution, but we do have, as a person foremost -- the constitution, do we not? mr. leichty: we do. that's our keystone. all branches of government -- the president, the congress, the federal judiciary, are all obligated to follow it. mr. ranjan: senator leahy, i agree with mr. leichty, our constitution is our load star. i think we're guided by the constitution. all braveragets must follow the constitution. as citizens we look to the constitution for our rights. if i'm' fortunate enough to be confirmed, if people have constitutional issues brought before the courts, i will do my best to faithfully apply the
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precedents that deal with that issue. senator leahy: i'll go to this. if you're confirmed, you take the oath, look at that oath. i urge every senator to do that . i served here with close to 400 senators. look at it. you take an oath, uphold the constitution. that protects us all. whether you are a republican, democrat, independent, anything else. we are fortunate in this country to have a constitution, and we should uphold it. so thank you, mr. chairman. senator grassley: thank you. thank each of you for your testimony. i expect members will have written questions for you, which you could expect within a week. so obviously the record will be kept open for one week.
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and the meeting is adjourned. mr. capuano: -- [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2018] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit] inaudible]
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>> the house will debate on removing the gray wolf from the
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endangered species list. . d swear in new members the senate will return for coast guard programs and federal reserve board. you can watch the house live on c-span under a couple hours, 2:00 p.m. eastern. and senator on c-span2 at 3:00 p.m. eastern. as the 115th congress starts hits lamb duck session, members of the 116th congress who were elected last week are in washington for orientation. taking a look just outside the hotel where freshmen orientation is being held all week in the southeast part of the city, leadership elections for the new congress are expected to begin tomorrow. >> c-span, where history unfolds daily. in 1979, c-span was created as a public service by you america's cable television companies. and today we continue to bring you unfiltered coverage of
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congress, the white house, the supreme court, and public policy events in washington, d.c. and around the country. c-span is brought to you by your cable or satellite provider. >> sunday on "q&a" -- california democratic congresswoman jackie speier talks about her memoir -- "undaunted." ms. speier: i was on an airstrip in the remote jungles and we were ambushed on that airstrip and shot. congressman ryan was shot 45 times and died on that airstrip. there were members of the press that died. one defector of the people's temple who died. i was shot five times on the right side of my body. bone justing out of my right arm, wound in my leg the size of a football. and


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